[conspire] We're home

Ross Bernheim rossbernheim at speakeasy.net
Sun Jun 17 09:04:43 PDT 2007

On Jun 17,  02007, at 7:56 AM, Rick Moen wrote:

> Quoting Ross Bernheim (rossbernheim at speakeasy.net):
>> Welcome back.
> Thanks.
>> All too often people respond to something without taking time to
>> think and do some research first. Simply looking at the license
>> and a quick check of the dictionary would have prevented his
>> complaint.
> The dictionary wouldn't help a lot (see below), as this is a technical
> meaning (i.e., one in a software context) rather different from the
> common one.  Essentially, people objecting to the usage either aren't
> familiar with it, or think it's pejorative, or think the meaning is up
> for debate.
> Those who assume it's pejorative are thinking "Dan's software is
> generously licensed; it's unfair to call it proprietary".  My reply to
> them is "I didn't say it's bad, and I certainly didn't say it's
> ungenerous; I just said it's proprietary".
>> Many of us think we know what words mean and are quite often
>> wrong. A simple check of the dictionary is often quite illuminating.
>> My favorite dictionary is the Concise Oxford Dictionary. I have a
>> copy at home and another at work.
> You'll find that is probably says something like:
>   proprietary, adj.  1. Characterised by the property of being owned.
>   2.  Subject to restrictive conditions imposed by an owner that  
> prevent
>   wide access.
> In other words, your dictionary almost certainly says nothing about  
> the
> word in its software context.  Context matters a great deal, here  
> -- as
> it often does.

My dictionary is a bit different than yours.
proprietary, a & n 1. Of a proprietor, as proprietary rights: holding  
as the proprietary classes; held in private ownership, as proprietary
medicines (sale of which is restricted by patent etc.)

This seems to me to cover the situation quite well.

The problem may be in that second definition in your dictionary where  
assume that restrictive conditions  are used only to prevent wide  

Likewise in my dictionary they make a similar assumption.

But having been exposed to other licenses that use the restrictions  
in other
ways, we know better. Restrictions can be used for other reasons such  
as to
protect or foster dissemination.

> (You seem to have dropped off the mailing list into private mail.  I
> assume this to be accidental, and have redirected back.)

My bad. I hit the reply without checking.


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